A speech disorder occurs when a child has trouble producing certain sounds. According to your Louisville expert, speech disorders can be broken down into different categories depending on the nature of the problem. Speech disorders include:
- Articulation disorders. The child has trouble with certain syllables or pronounces words incorrectly to such an extent that it is extremely difficult to understand what is being said.
- Fluency disorders. These are characterized by interruptions in the normal flow of speech. Stuttering – an abnormal repetition or prolonging of sounds, syllables or words – is the most common fluency disorder.
- Voice disorders. These involve problems with pitch, volume or voice quality.
- Swallowing disorders can also cause trouble with speech.
Your Louisville speech-language pathologist, commonly referred to as a speech therapist, is able to help. They will work with your child to evaluate their speech, language, cognitive, communication and oral/swallowing skills. This information is used to diagnose their speech problems and then create a personalized treatment plan.
The treatment for a speech disorder is called speech therapy and is crucial to your child’s long-term success.
The goal of this therapy is to resolve the speech issues by focusing on the area(s) in which your child needs help. Common strategies include articulation therapy that focuses on proper pronunciation and physical exercises that demonstrate how the tongue is used to form certain words. Tongue, lip and jaw exercises designed to strengthen the muscles of the mouth are also recommended.
If your child’s speech disorder is left untreated, they are at an increased risk of developing:
- Hearing loss
- Weakened oral muscles
- Excess drooling
- Breathing problems
- Feeding disorders
- Swallowing disorders
The younger your child is, the more successful the speech therapy will be. But it is never too late to seek help.
If your child is having speech troubles, now is the time to do something about it. Contact your Louisville speech-language pathologist and schedule a visit today.